Tenerife Carnival claims to be the second largest carnival party in the world after Rio de Janeiro. Tenerife Carnival is getting bigger, more vibrant and lively with each passing year. Here are some of our top suggestions to enhance your carnival experience.
The Murgas contest and the election of the queen
The «murgas» are Spanish carnival groups that feature satirical performers. They perform satirical songs about political and world news. The Murgas Contest is one of the most unique and special parts of the Tenerife Carnival. Murgas groups put a lot of humor into the carnival and compete in the contest to sing the funniest and funniest songs.
A Carnival Queen is selected for the Tenerife Carnival. One of several age groups is selected, including children, adults and seniors. The Carnival Queens always become a focal point during the parades, riding the floats while wearing glamorous dresses.
The coronation of the Carnival Queens is a popular event that is even broadcast on television. The contestants take this event very seriously, as the costumes are incredibly expensive and can even weigh up to 200 kilos!
The Cabalgata is the opening parade. It is a vibrant parade that features the carnival queen, murgas, dance groups, among other shows. The atmosphere is electric as everyone enthusiastically enjoys the beginning of the carnival.
Dress up to celebrate Carnival
You absolutely must dress up for carnival in Tenerife! Costumes in Tenerife are quite a show and people really go to great lengths to wear their best outfit for the occasion.
Many people dress up in carnival theme, however, you can wear whatever you want. Don’t worry if you arrive unprepared as there are plenty of street vendors selling costumes, wigs and masks everywhere.
Every night of the week during carnival, tens of thousands of people take to the streets to celebrate. The parties start around midnight and last until dawn. The best street parties take place on opening and closing weekends, as well as on Carnival Monday.
The Burial of the Sardine
It is the first day of Lent, and on this day the official closing of the carnival known as the Burial of the Sardine is celebrated. This is one of the most surreal celebrations that happen all over the world. It is about the burial of a giant papier-mâché sardine.
The Sardine walks through the streets of Tenerife, followed by men dressed as priests and women dressed as widows, all of them pretending to mourn the sardine. The sardine is then thrown into a huge bonfire, lit up, and a huge fireworks display officially closes the carnival.
On the closing weekend of the carnival, the locals say goodbye to Don Carnal, also known as Mr Carnival. During Piñata Sunday there are performances and traditional celebrations complete with an incredible fireworks display.
Where to stay for the Tenerife Carnival?
There are many accommodation options in Tenerife. From luxury resorts, hotels, B&Bs, private rentals, inns and hostels. It all comes down to your budget and the level of comfort you are looking for. We recommend booking your accommodation in Santa Cruz de Tenerife so you can be close to the action and want to be able to easily walk from your accommodation to the party.
If you want to be close to the party then book accommodation near Weyler, Calle Anaga and Teatro Guimera. But if you’re looking for something close to the action that offers some peace and quiet, check out some accommodation deals here. If you have not yet booked your accommodation, we recommend that you do so as soon as possible because a large number of tourists who come for the carnival and in this small town book accommodation quickly.
How to get to Tenerife Carnival?
By plane: Tenerife has two major airports, Tenerife Sur Reina Sofia International Airport (TFS) located about 60 km from Santa Cruz, in the south of Tenerife. And Tenerife North Los Rodeos International Airport (TFN) which is located near Santa Cruz. There are over sixty airlines serving these airports with connecting flights to many major European cities.
From the airports a taxi to Santa Cruz will cost you around €60 from Reina Sofia and €15 from Los Redos. Or alternatively, you can take bus line 111 from Los Redos and from Reina Sofía you can take bus lines 102, 108 and 109. Line 340 connects the two airports.
By boat: The Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is one of the main ports in Spain. The city can be reached with a ferry that connects Santa Cruz de Tenerife with Cádiz, on the Peninsula, but the trip takes about two days and is operated by Acciona Trasmediterranea. Of course, you can also take a ferry to travel between the islands.
How to get around Tenerife Carnival?
The best way to get around is on foot, so we recommend you book your accommodation near the carnival. You can rent a car, but many roads will be closed. But if you don’t stay close or want to explore more of the island, you can rent a car. If you are staying further afield there are buses that are cheap and fairly regular that run around the island, of course you can take a Taxi/Uber. You can always rent a bike or scooter too.
Is Tenerife safe to vacation?
Tenerife is generally a very safe place to visit, but beware of pickpockets. Especially during carnival when there are big crowds and it’s easier to have your stuff stolen.
So keep your valuables in mind at all times or even leave them at your hotel and just bring some cash with you. If you have to carry your phone with you, don’t keep it in sight for too long.